Autumn Events Guide 2018
Posted by Courtney Gallert on Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Summer temperatures are starting to cool and leaves are slowing transforming to oranges and reds; autumn is coming.
Autumn is a beautiful time to travel around Australia. As well as bringing an excuse to indulge in copious amounts of hot tea and soul-warming meals, the autumn months also roll out an excellent line-up of regional and city-central events. Think festivals celebrating autumnal produce, fetes focused on flowers and everything in between. You might plan a luxury getaway entirely around the thought of attending one event in particular, or you may already have an escape on the cards and are simply on the lookout for things to do while you're away.
Bright Autumn Festival
Autumn leaves will soon be falling, which is the perfect climate for Bright’s annual Autumn Festival, and it provides a great opportunity to visit Victoria’s High Country. The ten-day celebration is perfect for arty types, with the Bright Art Gallery’s Autumn Exhibition on display. Professional photography workshops are also one of the main attractions. Wander the craft and produce market, or even try your hand at bush dancing by getting involved with one of the lessons operating throughout the festival. Saturday 5 May is Gala Day, which provides live music and entertainment as well as a parade and access to open gardens.
When: 27 April to 6 March 2018.
Where: Various locations in Bright.
Cost: Free event.
Image: Bright Autumn Festival, Facebook
Melbourne International Comedy Festival
A night out in Melbourne’s CBD gets even better when you throw Melbourne International Comedy Festival into the mix. Between March and April each year, Melbourne’s International Comedy Festival takes over the city and is responsible for those sidesplitting laughs, with the occasional loss of breath. The line-up features a mix of international guests, including Arj Barker and DeAnne Smith, and local talent, from Dave Thornton to Cal Wilson; all leave show-goers in stitches, year after year. With show locations scattered across Melbourne, it is easy to explore different shows over several nights.
When: 28 March to 22 April 2018.
Where: Various locations across Melbourne.
Cost: Prices vary.
Melbourne Food and Wine Festival
Foodies rejoice! The Melbourne Food and Wine Festival is back in 2018, and with more events added to the program, this festival is bound to be bigger and better than ever. This year, the latest in food trends is on the menu, including a focus on vegan and sustainably sourced produce. Some of the culinary world's biggest names, including Rockpool’s Neil Perry and Ashley Palmer-Watts of Dinner by Heston, will be in attendance, presenting their finest dishes and holding demonstrations for the ambitious home-cooks. Don’t miss the World’s Longest Lunch; due to popular demand, 20 lunches are being held statewide. Also check out the Flemington Grazing Trail and Cellar Door event, where visitors can purchase a tasting glass and sample wines from local and interstate wineries.
When: 16 March to 25 March 2018.
Where: Various locations around Melbourne and Victoria.
Cost: Ticket prices vary, between $12 and $500.
Image: Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, Facebook
Bendigo Craft Beer and Cider Festival
More than 100 beers and ciders will be on display at the Bendigo Craft Beer and Cider Festival, with brewers from around the country on hand to offer samples of both their popular and more unusual blends. With free samples and special offers, you’ll be sure to bag a bargain on your favourites. Live bands and food trucks will ensure the perfect ambiance for beer drinking, with pizza, tacos and hot jam doughnuts completing the carnival vibe.
When: 24 March 2018.
Where: Tom Flood Sports Centre, Bendigo.
Cost: $35 for general admission.
Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show
The Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens are overcome with bursting blooms and floral arrangements as part of the Melbourne International Garden Show. With fashion, guest speakers, competitions, sculptures and design workshops making up just some of the 2018 program, this year’s event is brimming with flowery promise. Don’t miss the Viking Cruises High Tea, with sparking wine, tea and coffee accompanying an exclusive chef-crafted menu of sweet and savoury delicacies. Another must-see is the new Roses and Rosé event, a wine tasting experience with advice on matching wines to the weather.When: 21 March to 25 March 2018.
Where: Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens.
Cost: $29.90 for adults.
Image: Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show, Facebook
Moomba Festival Melbourne
Moomba is Australia’s largest free community festival and has been delighting young and old since 1955. Melbourne’s creative side is on show each year across the Labour Day long weekend. A true highlight is the Birdman Rally, where participants must design and create an outfit that will fly them across the Yarra River. The entrant whose wings (figuratively or otherwise) carry them the furthest is crowned the winner. The main event, the Moomba Parade, happens on the Monday with two of Melbourne’s most beloved celebrities carried on a float down St Kilda Road. Join in the festivities at Birrarung Marr and Alexandra Gardens, with rides, games and food on offer all weekend long.
When: 9 March 2018 to 12 March 2018.
Where: Birrarung Marr and Alexandra Gardens.
Cost: Free admission.
New South Wales
Sydney Royal Easter Show
There’s something for everyone at the Sydney Royal Easter Show. Since its inaugural event in 1823, the Easter Show has evolved from a small agricultural gathering, to the largest annual event in Australia. Many visitors flock to the CWA kitchen to get their hands on the cloud-like scones, with members baking up to 1000 every day. For those with a more extreme sweet tooth, be sure to sink your teeth into a hot Nutella shot doughnut - the old-school jam doughnut just doesn’t compare! A recent addition to the show is the carnival area, which includes live music, entertainment, rides, food and drink stalls, plus the all-important showbag pavilion. A day spent at the show is sure to have you leaving with a smile of your face, although maybe not after a visit to the House of Horrors!
When: 23 March to 3 April 2018.
Where: Sydney Showgrounds, Sydney Olympic Park.
Cost: from $26.50 to $42.50. Early bird tickets currently on sale.
Vivid Sydney, NSW
Vivid Sydney draws crowds comparable to the New Years Eve fireworks. Families, couples and friends alike can enjoy this free event, with music, food and live entertainment proving that Vivid is more than just about the lights. Guest speakers hold talks, covering ideas about everything from the future of technology to social change. Be sure to feed your stomach as well as your brain with a visit to Sydney’s Night Market. However, the light shows are the main event and are designed to illuminate the Opera House, Harbour Bridge and Martin Place.
When: 25 May to 16 June 2018.
Where: Various locations across Sydney, including the Opera House and Royal Botanic Gardens.
Cost: Free event.
Image: Vivid Sydney, Facebook
The motto for EAT Merimbula is "local chefs, local producers & local produce", and a pitstop at this foreshore festival is perfect for when you want to get a taste of the area. Pick up one of the entrée size plates, available for $8 each, to whet your appetite with fare from local chefs and restaurateurs. A preview of the 2018 menu is available now and features bites from steamed buns with shredded pork, Balmain Bug brioche and coconut mayo, a range of handmade ice-creams, mocktails and even doughnuts. Once you've had your fill of Merimbula's best gourmet offerings, set out to explore other areas of the NSW Sapphire Coast.
When: 11 March 2018
Where: Fishpen Road, Merimbula
Cost: Free entry.
Australian Capital Territory
Canberra Balloon Spectacular, ACT
The colourful Canberra Balloon Spectacular is a part of the annual Canberra Festival. With novelty-shaped balloons from local and international makers, the nine-day festival provides a visual spectacle for both those in the skies and those down below. A flight in one of these soaring balloons may also offer a wow-worthy activity for couples on a romantic getaway. Thrill seekers will also delight in ticking hot-air ballooning off of their bucket list, and although waking up before sunrise sounds more like a chore, the view from your balloon’s basket is definitely worth sacrificing a sleep-in. Ballooning joy riders are also treated to a champagne breakfast.
When: 10 March to 18 March 2018
Where: Lawns of Old Parliament House
Cost: Free for spectators. Balloon flights from $345 per person
Image: Visit Canberra
Yalumba - The Signature Gala
Yalumba’s Signature Gala will centre on the release of the 2014 vintage of The Signature Cabernet Sauvignon & Shiraz. This black-tie event provides the occasion to book a getaway to the Barossa, with a visit to the Yalumba Winery at the top of your itinerary. Jock Zonfrillo from the hatted Restaurant Orana has partnered with Yalumba to create a four-course degustation, designed exclusively for the gala. The menu will be matched with top drops from the Yalumba label.
When: 5 May 2018
Where: Yalumba Winery, 40 Eden Valley Road, Angaston.
Cost: from $195 for dinner.
Image: Yalumba Family Vignerons
WOMADelaide (World of Music, Arts and Dance in Adelaide)
WOMADelaide, or World of Music, Arts and Dance in Adelaide, shines a light on some of the very best in South Australian culture. WOMADelaide is a multicultural display of food, music and dance, with workshops on offer throughout the festival allowing visitors to learn international cooking and dancing techniques. All ages are welcome at WOMADelaide, and a kids program features performances by Playschool’s Justine Clarke, plus a petting zoo. Music and dance are sure to delight teens, with The Avalanches and Dan Sultan leading an impressive line-up. Talks about nature, climate change and wildlife are available for adults.
When: 9 March to 12 March 2018.
Where: Adelaide Botanic Park
Cost: from $148 for adult single passses.
Cellar Door Festival
Adelaide’s Cellar Door Festival showcases 17 of South Australia’s wine regions. No matter if you prefer a hands-on approach to cooking, or would rather be wined and dined; the festival offers complimentary tastings and one-on-one workshops with some of South Australia’s award-winning chefs and winemakers. Loosen up at the Food, Booze and Dancing Shoes event on the Friday, which can serve as an introduction into the rest of the festival's program.
When: 2 March to 4 March 2018.
Where: Adelaide Convention Centre.
Cost: $30 for general admission.
Cradle Mountain Film Festival
Tasmania’s Cradle Mountain provides a stunning backdrop for catching some of Australia’s best in short and long form films, and it is all courtesy of the Cradle Mountain Film Festival. This year also sees Mountainfilm on Tour being brought to the mountain, allowing festival-goers to partake in films that celebrate environment, adventures and cultures. Lose yourself in footage documenting scenic landscapes from across the globe, but don’t forget to appreciate the beauty of your Tasmanian surroundings. The three-day celebration involves more than just a screen, too. Participate in (or perhaps just spectate from a far) the Dove Lake Classic Trail Run, or brave the 6am start time for the Wilderness Yoga Event on the last day of the festival.
When: 6 April to 8 April 2018.
Where: Cradle Mountain.
Cost: from $22.
King Island Long Table Festival
Now in its 10th year, the King Island Long Table Festival is making its 2018 event one for the books. Extra events have been added to the program too, including farm and produce tours. Fans of fromage will love the cheese-making tutorials, with advice on how to master the perfect cheese. You’ll have to exercise some self-control though, especially if you want to have room in your stomach for the Long Lunch, held on the final day of the festival. Naturally, local suppliers are the stars of the lunch menu. Expect beef fillet with shallot puree and beetroot, and King Island Dairy citrus cheesecake. Wash it all down with a glass of pinot gris from Pipers Brook Winery.
When: 6 April to 8 April 2018.
Where: Various locations around King Island.
Cost: Depends on activity, from $75 to $215.
Image: King Island Long Table Festival, Facebook
Wide Open Space Festival
Held on ancient land that makes up the MacDonnell Ranges, the Wide Open Space Festival is a modern celebration of Indigenous and non-Indigenous music, art and culture. The Ross River site provides space for an extensive music program, as well as panel discussions, circus acts and even body percussion. As its name suggests, Wide Open Space provides plenty of room for campers, with areas catering for both night owls and beauty-sleepers.
When: 4 May to 6 May 2018.
Where: Ross River Resort in the East MacDonnell Ranges.
Cost: from $180 per ticket, covering the whole weekend.
Image: Wide Open Space Festival, Facebook
Emergence Creative Festival
The Margaret River region is thrust into the spotlight in March, with the Emergence Creative Festival a must for creatives in varying industries. Music, film, photography, advertising and digital enthusiasts convene for this annual weekend, with inspiration shared across a range of disciplines. 2018 is a big year for the festival, with Adam Spark and Glenn Sarangapany of Birds of Tokyo on hand to share their thoughts on creativity, and they will answer questions on sourcing inspiration.
When: 21 March to 24 March 2018.
Where: Locations vary around Margaret River.
Cost: from $650.
Image: Emergence Creative Festival, Facebook
Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe Beach
Perth’s Cottesloe Beach will be transformed into an outdoor art-gallery again in 2018, with the annual Sculpture by the Sea festival returning for another year. More than 70 sculptures from local and international artists will be on display along the foreshore, with views of the Indian Ocean just metres away. If you consider yourself an arty type, why not put in an entry? With registrations are still open and $50,000 up for grabs as the top prize, it’s not too late to channel your inner Michelangelo!
When: 2 March to 19 March 2018.
Where: Cottesloe Beach.
Cost: Free entry.
Taste Great Southern
Eating and drinking your way through Western Australia is made simple during March, with Taste Great Southern providing the goods. Masterchef’s Marco Pierre White is just one of the celebrity chefs attending the festival, appearing alongside Anna Gare from The Great Australian Bake Off and Justine Schofield from Everyday Gourmet. Seven of WA's regions will be in the spotlight, showcasing local produce as well as wines from nearby vineyards. The focus for 2018 is on gastronomic diversity, with banquets events catering for a variety of diets. Indulge in a pescatarian feast, or for the more traditional, there’s always a chocolate and wine pairing workshop.
When: 8 March to 25 March 2018.
Where: Locations vary.
Cost: Prices vary, from free entry to ticketed events.
World Science Festival Brisbane
With something for everyone, you don’t have to wear glasses and a lab coat to enjoy the World Science Festival. Founded in New York, the festival is coming to Brisbane in 2018 and more than 300, 000 attendees are expected to check it out. Highlights include scientist-led talks, film screenings and performances. The four-day program is stellar so be prepared to have your eyes widened and your mind blown.
When: 21 March to 25 March 2018.
Where: Events held in the Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Queensland Museum, State Library of Queensland and the Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art.
Cost: Varies on activity, approximately $20 per event.
Noosa Festival of Surfing
Noosa’s beaches are world-renowned for their picturesque views and bright blue waters, not to mention the outstanding surfing conditions and flawless weather. The annual Noosa Festival of Surfing showcases one of Australia’s most popular beaches on an international scale. Surfers of all ages and abilities are encouraged to ride Noosa’s waves, all competing for the title of Noosa Surf Champion. A new addition for 2018 is Nev’s Gala Dinner, hosted by philanthropist and keen surfer, Nev Hyman. All proceeds from the three-course meal go towards the global housing affordability crisis in developing countries.
When: 10 March to 17 March 2018; Gala dinner, 15 March 2018.
Where: Noosa Main Beach.
Cost: Free for general spectators; $140 for Gala tickets.
Blues on Broadbeach Music Festival
The program for the 2018 Blues on Broadbeach Music Festival has been released, with popular blues musician Ash Grunwald announced as headline act. This annual celebration of all things blues, folk, roots and rock, and it is one of the largest free activities in Queensland, with performances happening across 20 locations, it's taking over the streets of Broadbeach.
When: 17 March to 20 March 2018.
Where: Broadbeach CBD.
Cost: Free event.